President Goodluck Jonathan’s comment on Boko Haram insurgency in the North, where he stated that more Muslims have lost their lives in the ongoing crisis has been criticised by the Christian Association of Nigeria, with the group insisting that the sect has attacked and killed more Christians than Muslims.
Speaking through his Special Assistant, Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Kenny Ashaka, President of CAN, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor said it was difficult to believe that the President made such a statement, since it had become public knowledge that Christians had been at the receiving end of the terrorists’ attacks.
Oritsejafor challenged the authorities to provide figures of Muslims who had died as a result of Boko Haram attacks and compare it with the over 2,000 Christians that had been killed by the sect.
“Well, I won’t want to believe that President Jonathan said that. But if we verify that he actually said that more Muslims had died in Boko Haram attacks than Christians, we will respond to him appropriately. But everybody knows that Boko Haram has been targeting Christians. Have you heard of any mosque that was either bombed or burnt by Boko Haram? I’ve only heard of Boko Haram attacking people coming out of the mosque. Those are targeted people – Muslims who are not sympathetic to Boko Haram.
“It is on record that more than 2,000 Christians have been killed by Boko Haram. Have you heard Islamic leader talking about Muslim casualties the way we have been shouting? Anybody saying that should bring out the figures of Muslims that have died in this crisis. I believe the onus of proof lies on the people propagating such misinformation.”
He added that the sect had made it clear from the outset that they were targeting security agents; some Muslims, who give them out; and Christians.
Christians in the North have also vented their anger on the President over his comment.
They said if the comment credited to the President were correct, then it was unfortunate that the President will utter such “unpardonable statement.”
The spokesman of CAN in the 19 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory, Mr. Sunday Oibe, in a statement on Saturday in Kaduna, insisted that the statement was unfortunate and an attempt by the President to distort facts.
At the opening session of a meeting with the Honorary International Investor Council led by Baroness Lynda Chalker at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Thursday, President Jonathan said the unfolding events in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states had confirmed his belief that religion was not the cause of the insurgencies in the country.
He attributed the insecurity in the country to the activities of “internationally-backed terror groups,” adding that “People thought the insurgency is about religious issues but the pattern of attacks shows clearly that it has nothing to do with religion. Just as there are threats to churches, so also are threats to mosques. They attack everywhere, killing Muslims and Christians. Even more Muslims have died in the conflict than Christians have.”